Monday, July 25, 2011

An encore? Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant relish the experience
By June Navarro : - MANILA—One spectacular show deserves a repeat performance.
And no less than Kobe Bryant, the brightest from among the nine-man NBA stars that played in the just-concluded Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend here, wants an encore.

“It’s been a tremendous honor to play here,” said Bryant, who won the Finals MVP twice in his five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Thank you for the love and support and the passion that you have in the sport,” added the four-time NBA All-Star MVP. “I hope this won’t be the last.”

Bryant played alongside reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, scoring champion Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma Thunder and ace point guard Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets in two exhilarating exhibition games at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

The NBA stars came out on top on both occassions as expected, beating the PBA selection coached by Chot Reyes, 131-105, on Saturday and the Smart Gilas national team, 98-89, Sunday.

“It’s one of the most tremendous experiences in my life,” said Durant. “It’s a great honor and I would love to come back here.”

Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings, JaVale McGee of the Washington Wizards, James Harden of the Thunder, Derek Fisher of the Lakers and rookie Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves completed the star-studded NBA lineup.

They agreed to play in the country after team owners and players of the NBA failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement before the June 30 deadline.

MVP Sports Foundation executive director Chot Reyes, however, is uncertain if the spectacle that thrilled hoop junkies throughout the country could be back for a repeat performance.


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